Let your light shine

In the spirit of Matthew 5:16, we're sharing examples of people who live their faith. May they inspire you to let your light shine even brighter.

What started as a young girl's wish to make Barbie clothes turned into a way to raise money to help a church in Ukraine.

Eight-year-old Amanda Herman asked for a sewing machine for Christmas 2010 so she could make clothes for her dolls. So Amanda could learn how to sew, she and her mom, Becky, began making bags. After creating several different bags, they decided to offer them to others for donations. "I remembered Grandpa talking about the church in the Ukraine and decided to ask Grandpa if I could help them," says Amanda, a third-grader at Glen Lake School, Maple City, Mich. Amanda's grandpa is Pastor John Vogt, who serves as WELS regional coordinator for Eastern Europe.

Amanda decided to set a goal of $2,000.87 that she could send to the Ukrainian Lutheran Church, one of WELS' sister synods, to help a congregation in Ternopil with its church building. Since she started in April 2011, she has made 19 wallets, 35 rice bags, 65 bags, and 2 cell phone bags and sent her projects to at least eight states. She met her goal by December. 

The congregation in Ternopil was thrilled with the donation. Amanda received a Ukrainian outfit from them as well as a letter of thanks from the congregation's pastor, Taras Kokovsky. "We are deeply touched with your great work of love you do to help Ternopil ULC congregation finish the church," Kokovsky wrote. "We highly appreciate your gift and your wonderful efforts. Your gift is a proof of your great faith in Jesus our Savior. You encouraged others to help brothers and sisters in need, and you did it in an amazing way." 

Amanda says that "it feels good" to help a church body thousands of miles away. "I have tried to talk other kids into helping out a cause they believe in," she says. "I think kids should do this because everyone needs to know about Jesus. I like that I am helping others."

Her parents, Kris and Becky, say that they admire her for tackling a project many adults wouldn't even do. "I wanted to teach her at a young age that there is a huge world out there and one person can make a difference no matter what the age," says Becky. "I believe she is learning this."

And Amanda isn't done yet. She continues to raise money to help the Ukrainian Lutheran Church and also wants to help children in Guatemala.

For more information, contact Becky and Amanda at Amandasews8@yahoo.com.